Flashbacks – 15. Vincenzo Agnetti
03.12.2022 – 23.12.2022
BUILDINGBOX presents, from April 9, 2022 to January 7, 2023, Flashbacks, an exhibition curated by Alice Montanini that retraces the most important stages of BUILDING’s artistic research and promotion, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of its birth.
Flashbacks pays tribute to all the artists, curators and essayists who have contributed to shaping BUILDING’s core, presenting for the first time in an organic way a selection of works from the gallery’s permanent collection, accompanied by the catalogues and archive materials that document its curatorial practice over the last five years.
From December 3rd to December 23rd, 2022, BUILDINGBOX presents the work Meridiana – Tempus Mentis by the artist Vincenzo Agnetti (Milan, 1926 – Milan, 1981).
In this 1972 work, Agnetti investigates the concept of time and the representation of its passing using a sundial, the definitive instrument for gauging the sun’s motion, used for millennia to mark and measure time. The shadow cast on the surface of the sundial manifests a development, a transition, but also a culture. It not only responds to a basic primitive and existential need, but is also an ancient testimony to the validity of an idea that generated knowledge and furthered science and progress. Agnetti’s sundial does not measure time by chasing the hours, but considers it from another perspective, that of human intellectual activity. Though this is something more intimate and interior, its scope and manifestations are held to be as universal as the motion of the heavenly bodies. Agnetti’s spatial transliteration of time is not marked by numbers but the emblematic circularity of the phrase, “Time is the development of culture and culture is the sedimentation of time.” The idea, then, is of temporality from an all-human perspective, in which time is the unit of measure of our existence: we move through time while being also custodians and witnesses of its flow.
In October 2019, BUILDING presented the exhibition Vincenzo Agnetti – Autoritratti Ritratti, Scrivere – Enrico Castellani Piero Manzoni curated by Giovanni Iovane. Divided into two sections – Autoritratti Ritratti and Scrivere – it featured a selection of Agnetti’s works that not only included his famous “felts,” but also pieces that offered an original take on the portrait genre: Identikit (1973), Autotelefonata (No) (1972) and Elisabetta d’Inghilterra (1976). The show also presented the famous Quando mi vidi non c’ero (1971), dedicated to the theme of the self-portrait, and Il suonatore di fiori (1982), the artist’s final, unfinished work.
Central to Flashbacks‘ investigation is the moment of the exhibition, here conceived as a medium, mirroring the relationships and dynamics generated between the work, the artist and the gallery space, which flow into the more complex sphere of that system of critical and aesthetic categories that are at the basis of BUILDING’s curatorial approach and programming.
An important focus of Flashbacks is also the catalogues published by BUILDING to accompany each exhibition. BUILDING’s strong focus on study and research, not only as a hub for the promotion of contemporary art but also as a publishing house, is evinced by the careful selection of essayists and texts included in the various publications.
The exhibition will provide an opportunity to think back to the highlights of BUILDING’s curatorial activity, while also looking ahead to the future of its programming. To look back at the recent past with gratitude to all those who have accompanied BUILDING to date, but also with a critical eye, in order to outline new coordinates with which to question the present and better orientate ourselves towards the future.
An open-door reinterpretation of its collection, through some representative works by the main artists promoted by the gallery, and of the curatorial and publishing activity carried out so far, presented in the spaces of BUILDINGBOX at irregular intervals and visible 24/7 from the window of via Monte di Pietà 23 in Milan.